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Thread: WIP: First Attempt at Forging a Knife

  1. #1
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    WIP: First Attempt at Forging a Knife

    I got the urge to try forging a knife last night, found a couple pieces of rebar in the yard and started research on what I would need to do to make it into a knife. This is my first attempt at forging anything and making any type of knife.

    The knife is supposed to be a small utility knife, 2.5" blade, about 6" overall.

    This is the forge I threw together from some housing bricks and a propane torch. Worked pretty well once it got heated up, ran it for three hours straight at full fire with no problems after some slight cracking sounds at startup.


    Finished forge shaping. Blade close to desired thickness at spine, forged some slight thinning toward edge. I had trouble drawing out the heel like I wanted, but I have enough metal to work with to get close to my desired profile. Handle was tapered.



    Since I don't have proper hammers for this type of work, I one-handed a sledge hammer for the majority of the work accompanied by a small ball-peen hammer. For an anvil, I used the little flat anvil spot on top of my bench vice.

    This is about 3.5 hours total, including building forge, to this point. I hope to finish this week. I will continue to update this thread as I work on this.

  2. #2
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    Here is the forged blank with the original rough sketch. When overlaid it appears I should be able to make the sketch work.

  3. #3
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Looks like fun! Next time, you should try to forge the tip shape, and you'll be able to get a tad more blade length out of it. I'm an expert forger, that's why I know this...cuz I'm an expert....
    09/06

    Take a look around at: www.sharpandshinyshop.com

    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

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    Senior Member K-Fed's Avatar
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    Interesting. Does re-bar have enough carbon content to make it hardenable to a useable hardness?
    Don't touch my d!ck. Dont touch my knife. ~ Anthony Bourdain ~

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    Senior Member Baby Huey's Avatar
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    I remember getting stabbed with rebar and it taking forever to heal. A co-worker stated that there was something in the chemical composition in the rebar that caused it.
    It only hurts til the pain goes away........

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by K-Fed View Post
    Interesting. Does re-bar have enough carbon content to make it hardenable to a useable hardness?
    Not usually. Rebar is a mish mash of metal...and not particularly well mixed. Some might have carbon, some not. Hell, some 6" pieces might have carbon in one end and not in the other. Even HC rail spikes are better to start with usually, because they have a consistent carbon level. It's low...but its there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Huey View Post
    I remember getting stabbed with rebar and it taking forever to heal. A co-worker stated that there was something in the chemical composition in the rebar that caused it.
    It was dirty lol.

    GlassEye, if you're here in the US, PM me your address and I'll lop you off a 6" piece of 1/2" W1 to make your first knife from .

    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefty View Post
    Looks like fun! Next time, you should try to forge the tip shape, and you'll be able to get a tad more blade length out of it. I'm an expert forger, that's why I know this...cuz I'm an expert....
    I did forge some tip shape at some point but it didn't really maintain that shape after working the spine and edge. As for next time, I'll see how sore my arms are after this one and go from there.
    Quote Originally Posted by K-Fed View Post
    Interesting. Does re-bar have enough carbon content to make it hardenable to a useable hardness?
    This guy seems to have had some success forging knives of rebar.
    What he is claiming is relatively low carbon, but the steel was free for me
    I am not expecting too much in terms of knife performance, but if I can get something I can use for opening boxes, letters, other little tasks I will be quite satisfied with the project.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrisAnderson27 View Post
    GlassEye, if you're here in the US, PM me your address and I'll lop you off a 6" piece of 1/2" W1 to make your first knife from .

    Are saying the ugly lump of metal pictured above is not considered my first knife? Thanks for the offer, I'll decline for now but I'll let you know when it is time for the next one.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by K-Fed View Post
    Interesting. Does re-bar have enough carbon content to make it hardenable to a useable hardness?
    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Huey View Post
    I remember getting stabbed with rebar and it taking forever to heal. A co-worker stated that there was something in the chemical composition in the rebar that caused it.
    Quote Originally Posted by GlassEye View Post
    I did forge some tip shape at some point but it didn't really maintain that shape after working the spine and edge. As for next time, I'll see how sore my arms are after this one and go from there.

    This guy seems to have had some success forging knives of rebar.
    What he is claiming is relatively low carbon, but the steel was free for me
    I am not expecting too much in terms of knife performance, but if I can get something I can use for opening boxes, letters, other little tasks I will be quite satisfied with the project.
    Trust me...you can make knives from three different pieces of rebar, and have three completely different results in hardness, and my bet would be none of the three would even harden.

    Now, I know nothing of this 'grade 60' he keeps mentioning on this page, but I don't think it's your typical rebar. The one thing about his site that makes me doubtful of his results though is his hardening procedure. Bright red in what light? What kind of water? The only real way to get .40% carbon steel to harden properly or reliably is cold brine (salt water) with a touch of dish soap...water is inconsistent (it CAN work...but not always!).

    I'm serious about the W1, and I'd happily set you up with the correct process for hardening it as well. Its not difficult and the result you'll get is FAR superior .
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by GlassEye View Post
    Are saying the ugly lump of metal pictured above is not considered my first knife? Thanks for the offer, I'll decline for now but I'll let you know when it is time for the next one.
    Sure thing! The offer stands...whenever you need it .

    If you'd like, I'd be glad to help you with the heat treat...even with that steel, freezing brine with some dawn in it will give you the best results. Also, do yourself a favor and skip the 'bright red'. Use a magnet...and when the steel will no longer stick to the magnet, heat it a tiny bit more, then quench.
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

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